Kuching sightseeing and souvenirs

Sarawak is bestowed with many natural wonders, especially caves. While not near to the Mulu cave, there are other caves and national parks near Kuching that are worth visiting. The most visited national park near Kuching is probably Bako. I decided to skip Bako, partly due to the difficulty of getting there (boat trip required). Instead, i was planning to visit Gunung Gading National Park, to try to see the Rafflesia, and Fairy Cave. These are located to the west of Kuching, so, combined, they make for a nice day trip.

Unfortunately, there was no Rafflesia in bloom while i was in Kuching, so i changed plans and visited Mount Singai instead. There is a Catholic pilgrimage centre some distance up Mount Singai, though the centre itself isn’t really the attraction. Rather, the climb up to the centre is the attraction, and truly a pilgrimage for anyone who undertakes it. It is quite a workout to scale the stairs, and honestly speaking, there isn’t a whole lot to see on the way up, but i think there is still just about enough in the overall experience to make it a worthwhile visit.

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Stairs made of red wood which is supposedly very hard and water resistant
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A picturesque point. The mountain is full of bamboo
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The pilgrimage fittingly is marked by crosses bearing depiction of stations of the cross
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Jackfruit tree
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Autumn colours
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The Catholic pilgrimage centre

Fairy cave was the highlight of my trip. A cave visit is an encounter with endless surprises, engineered by nature.

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Stairs leading to the cave entrance
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Cave entrance
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Looks like art to me
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First glimpse into the cave chamber
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To me these look like stars dotting the sky, except they are green
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The cave looks almost like a landscaped garden, with plants growing in a surprisingly orderly manner. Are there fairies tending to this garden?
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Colourful rocks donning the ceiling
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Rock flattened by constantly dripping water droplets?
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Light. Water. Life.
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Contours
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A very serene scene at Fairy cave car parking area

A trip to Kuching isn’t complete without a visit to the waterfront.

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Sarawak  State Legislative Assembly building as seen from the waterfront
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Former prison. I do wonder why it is built next to the river. It still bears the crest of the Kingdom of Sarawak.

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Statue of a crocodile, which does roam the Sarawak river

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Catch a boat ride to the other side from the waterfront
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The boat runs on motor and is steered by a pair of paddles
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The Dayang Salhah layered cake shop is right across the river. Bring these home as gifts and souvenirs.

The name Kuching sounds like Kucing, which, in Malay, means cat. Whether the name Kuching had its origin from the name of the cat is unknown, but the cat is the symbol for the city.

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Cat
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More cats
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And more cats

I suspect tourists don’t come to Kuching to visit malls. Nevertheless, malls are good for killing time. There are not many malls in Kuching, and the best ones are probably The Spring and Merdeka Plaza. A brand new mall – Viva City was newly opened on 12 Dec, 2015. It was so new that the air inside the mall was still filled with dust. I suspect if one were to measure the air pollution index, it would have been above 300 PSI. It doesn’t look too exciting, but can do for killing time as well. I got my favourite trip souvenir from The Spring mall – a haircut at Richard and Iris. I heartily recommend them if you’re in the mood for a hair makeover, or even just shampoo and massage.

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Viva City mall
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My favourite trip souvenir

There are a few things that one can bring home as souvenir – instant Kolo Mee, Bipang (米香 or rice crackers), pepper and coffee beans (which is something i always buy when on a trip). There are two types of instant Kolo Mee, one that comes with seasoning (see the bottom of the top left hand photo below), which expires in 3 months, and the other noodles only packaging which expires in one year. There are quite a few shops selling these food souvenir or gift items along Jalan Padungan, between cross streets Lorong 1 and Lorong 14.

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